Hotchkiss Debate Sweeps Home Tournament

On November 11, the Debate team hosted its annual home tournament, with over ten schools and more than 120 students in attendance. Hotchkiss swept the competition, thanks to decisive victories from experienced members of the team and emerging novice debaters. The tournament differed slightly from more common debate competition formats, with an emphasis on impromptu speaking.  In this event, debaters are given a card with three words or phrases, must pick one of the topics, and then craft a three- to five-minute speech with two minutes of preparation. The other event, Parliamentary Debate, is more common in DANEIS, the debate association to which Hotchkiss belongs, but is equally challenging and difficult.  This format is modeled after the style of debate practiced in Great Britain’s Parliament.

Kelly Zuo ’20, Annabel Wallace ’21, and Beatrice Conti ’22 won the top three Novice Parliamentary Speaker awards. Wallace and Zuo were the best Two-Person Novice Team, and Conti won Best Novice Impromptu Speaker. In the Novice Overall awards, Conti won first place, followed by Zuo in second, and Wallace in third. Among advanced debaters, co-captain Carolyn Ren ’19 won first place Advanced Parliamentary Speaker, followed by co-captain Ian Gill ’19 in second place. Gill and Ren won Best Two-Person Advanced Team. Alex McLane ’20 was the Second Place Impromptu Speaker. In the Advanced Overall category, Gill and McLane tied for second place.

In order to prepare for upcoming tournaments, the Debate Team practices every day of the preceding week, with the help of coaches Mr. David Conti, Mr. Thomas Fisher, and Ms. Paula Russo. The team also relies on the leadership of co-captains Ren, Gill, and Annabelle Duval ‘19 for its success. Ren said, “[Ian, Annabelle, and I] have been doing debate since prep year, so we know each other very well – we have great chemistry and trust – allowing the three of us to work better [together]. [We are also] trying to reach out to underclassmen and be more approachable.”